A teenager who was filmed kicking a pensioner into a river in Warrington has apologised outside court, saying 'everyone makes mistakes' and that he 'expects to do time' for the offence.
Benjamin Bridgeman, 18, was seen carrying out the attack in a viral Snapchat video, before running away laughing as the 74-year-old man struggled in the River Mersey.
After two teenage girls came to help pull the victim out of the river, the man walked home 'freezing cold' and notified his family, who reported the incident to the police.
Bridgeman pleaded guilty to assault in connection with the incident at Warrington Magistrates Court on Wednesday 19 May.
His sentencing was adjourned until next month, and he was released on bail.
Speaking outside court after the hearing, Bridgeman said: "Obviously I'm very sorry. It wasn't supposed to happen, I didn't realise he was 74 years old.
"All I can do now is move forward, everyone makes mistakes in life.
"That's the honest truth, from the bottom of my heart.
"I'll be home soon. Back in court in three weeks, so everyone will see me get sentenced then - that's what everybody wants.
"You'll see me do my time, which I deserve."
The court heard previously how the elderly man had been standing on the banks of the river while magnet fishing on Sunday 25 April.
Bridgeman delivered a flying kick to his back, in turn sending the victim into the Mersey, banging his head as he fell and suffering a cut to the face.
The man had also been wearing a puffer jacket at the time, which quickly filled up with water and left him struggling to breathe or get out of the river - 'just about' managing to keep his head above water before being rescued.
Following a public appeal for information about the assault, Bridgeman handed himself in at a police station.
Deputy District Judge Ian Barnes heard Bridgeman is a regular cannabis user, who was placed into care at the age of eight and suffers from ADHD.
He told Bridgeman: "The incident you have pleaded guilty to is quite shocking, and ultimately it's a serious incident.
"The court will no doubt be considering very seriously whether to impose a prison sentence.
"That is in your hands - if you cooperate, the probation service might be able to suggest a recommendation that does not involve a prison sentence.
"Your conduct between now and then will play a large part."
In a statement read out to the court, the victim's wife said: "Since then, my husband has completely changed.
"Since the incident, I feel I have seen a decline in his mental health - I have tried to get him to go and see a doctor, but he is refusing to get help.
"He is confused and fearful - he feels that he has lost all faith in the system.
"The incident has made him think that all teenagers are trouble and would treat him in the same way if given the chance.
"We used to go for walks along the river, but since the incident he is refusing to do so - particularly near any kind of water - as he is scared of being assaulted again.
"He feels he is lucky to be alive and I agree with him, because he might have drowned.
"This incident will have an impact on him for the rest of his life."
A 15-year-old boy who uploaded the shocking clip to Snapchat admitted assault, and will be sentenced in the youth court a week prior to his co-defendant.
The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been released on unconditional bail.
Meanwhile, Ellie Hughes and Khloe Woods, both 14, have been praised for rescuing the pensioner, having formed a human chain to pull him from the river.
Locals also donated hundreds of pounds to an online crowdfunder set up to help send the victim on a fishing holiday.